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UNESCO Transcultura Programme trains Caribbean facilitators for blended teaching

© UNESCO/The UWI Open Campus.
The University of the West Indies has vast experience and expertise in conducting capacity-building courses across the Caribbean region. Photo: UWIOC 
The UNESCO Transcultura Programme: Integrating Cuba, the Caribbean and the European Union through Culture and Creativity, in collaboration with The University of the West Indies (The UWI) Open Campus, has benefitted 150 cultural facilitators from training institutions in Cuba and the Dominican Republic who received the Blended Teaching Training Course. 

The course sought to ensure that facilitators new to blended and online course delivery acquired basic knowledge on effective teaching strategies to facilitate courses using web-conferencing tools and asynchronous delivery platforms.

Speaking at the online launch ceremony held on November 1, Dr Francis Severin, Acting Principal of The UWI Open Campus, explained: 

The partnership will further deepen regional integration in the Caribbean and is in sync with The UWI’s strategic goals of ACCESS, AGILITY and ALIGNMENT. It is another demonstration of The UWI as a pivotal force in every aspect of Caribbean development, located at the centre of all efforts to improve the well-being of our people.

Noting the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, Sulema Rodríguez-Roche, Programme Officer of the UNESCO Transcultura Programme, extolled the virtues of online and blended learning. “The education system needs to adopt digital pedagogy strategies such as online learning and blended learning to ensure that the education process never stops,” she affirmed. 

The UNESCO Transcultura Programme Officer also stressed that while it is important to integrate face-to-face learning into overall academic discipline, online learning also helps students to customise education to their personal characteristics. 
 

Blended teaching improves the quality of education and information assimilation enabling students to become more independent, efficient and productive as they use online learning environments,
she added.

The Blended Teaching Training Course was the first among 12 courses offered by The UWI Open Campus through the blended learning modality using synchronous and asynchronous delivery, and it was implemented in the framework of the agreement signed with UNESCO in the summer of 2021. 

 

The blended teaching course allowed us to enter the world of online education and digital learning resources. Online education transcends limits and expands the possibilities of new approaches to the teaching-learning process. For example, it mitigates language barriers and allows a greater adaptability of the use of time to individual possibilities. The use of technology makes the process of designing the teaching content more analytical, and the resources sought stimulate the students’ active role in the learning process.
Surnai Benítez, Cuban Fund of Cultural Assets.

Some of the women and men who benefitted from the course had not received prior training in online teaching.

Some of the women and men who benefitted from the course had not received prior training in online teaching.

The beneficiaries are women and men belonging to Transcultura Regional Cultural Training Hub institutions. The Hub is a partnership between key cultural training institutions in the region that seeks to foster the professionalization of the cultural and creative industries sector. The institutions comprising the Hub are the International Film and Television School of San Antonio de los Baños (EICTV), the University of the Arts (ISA), the Higher Institute of Design (ISDi), the Cuban Fund of Cultural Assets (FCBC) (coordinated by the Cuban Ministry of Culture (MINCULT)), the San Gerónimo University College of Havana, the Workshop School and the future College of Santa Clara (coordinated by the Office of the Historian of the City of Havana (OHCH)) and The University of the West Indies (UWI)

The Call for Applications for The UWI Open Campus courses is open until 14 January 2022. More than 300 young Caribbeans will benefit from the second round of the UNESCO Transcultura Programme Scholarship Plan.

Transcultura is a four-year Programme, funded by the European Union and implemented by the UNESCO Regional Office for Culture in Latin America and the Caribbean.